e-Infrastructure and e-Services for Developing Countries. 8th International Conference, AFRICOMM 2016, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, December 6-7, 2016, Proceedings

Research Article

Towards Inclusive Social Networks for the Developing World

  • @INPROCEEDINGS{10.1007/978-3-319-66742-3_5,
        author={Christian Akpona and Rose Gohoue and Herve Ahouantchede and Fatna Belqasmi and Roch Glitho and Jules Degila},
        title={Towards Inclusive Social Networks for the Developing World},
        proceedings={e-Infrastructure and e-Services for Developing Countries. 8th International Conference, AFRICOMM 2016, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, December 6-7, 2016, Proceedings},
        proceedings_a={AFRICOMM},
        year={2017},
        month={10},
        keywords={Social networks Developing economies Inclusive social networks SMS Low-end cellular phones Text-to-speech},
        doi={10.1007/978-3-319-66742-3_5}
    }
    
  • Christian Akpona
    Rose Gohoue
    Herve Ahouantchede
    Fatna Belqasmi
    Roch Glitho
    Jules Degila
    Year: 2017
    Towards Inclusive Social Networks for the Developing World
    AFRICOMM
    Springer
    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-66742-3_5
Christian Akpona1, Rose Gohoue1, Herve Ahouantchede1, Fatna Belqasmi2,*, Roch Glitho, Jules Degila1
  • 1: University of Abomey-Calavi
  • 2: Zayed University
*Contact email: fatna.belqasmi@zu.ac.ae

Abstract

Social networks (e.g. Facebook) are becoming ubiquitous, especially in the developed world. However, they rely on two fundamental assumptions (i.e., reliable Internet connectivity, literacy) that exclude scores of potential end-users, especially in the developing world. Including these potential end-users will require lifting those two assumptions. This paper is a first step towards inclusive social networks in the developing world. It proposes and validates a two-layer system architecture. The proposed architecture allows end-users to access the social network with low-end cellular phones, using voice and Short Message Service (SMS), in addition to traditional access via a computer or smart phone, using keyboards. We have built a proof of concept prototype in which poorly literate end-users are included in two simplified dedicated social networks (a small farmers’ social network and a motorcycle taxis’ social network).